Talk about a prophetic series of posts (of mine in KSS over the past two weeks).  This just went down in Kingstree Senior High School in Kingstree, S.C.  I quote:

A South Carolina high school assistant principal is under investigation after police said he was captured on video restraining a 15-year-old student by placing her in a choke-hold and holding her until she passed out.  Authorities said the teenage girl was fighting with another student Monday morning…when the principal and another man intervened, according to an incident report….

Dear Readers (gee, I hope there are actual readers out there), if you are a teacher, you are morally, ethically and legally responsible for the safety of your students.  Don’t you agree?  And if you are typical, you are likely smaller and less (naturally) aggressive than your hormonal teenage students.  Yet, when there is combat between two or more students (from elementary all the way to senior high school), you are hoisted on the tip of a Troublesome Conundrum.

Likely you have not been trained on how to effectively, quickly and safely intervene.  To separate fighting students without getting cold cocked, and, oh.  yes, at the same time to assure that the other children and/or teens standing around watching this bloodbath do not  become triggered by the “dog fight” and get involved (causing a virtual riot) in the melee (well, it wasn’t a melee before, just a fight between two irate kids, but, if you don’t become and act like a “firebreak (more on being a firebreak in another post).”

Probably worse, if you are employed by a typical school , you perceive you are between a rock and a hard place.  Why?  Because, more likely than not  If you intervene, several things can happen.  Most of them bad.  If you are lucky, you break up the fight and everything calms down.  You are a fire break.  More likely, however, if you are the typical case, you may either get injured and the fight will rage on around you.  You may also get caught up in the heat of the situation and overreact similar to how our idiot South Carolinian principal did (choke hold), ending up either in legal hot water (he will likely be charged with a crime and/or sued by the family.  Probably fired with “extreme prejudice.”

You would be surprised how many resource officers (regular police working in the schools) have been charged with a crime and/or fired because they reacted to a student’s bad attitude with ego and power instead of restraint.  Similarly, many teachers have suffered the same fate when dealing with verbal abuse or encroaching physical aggression by students.  They reacted personally rather than professionally.

Professional Face,, always remember, equals being a firebreak in the classroom!

Your choice, of course.

But, if it is me, I would invest in a Disruptive Student Management (DSM) course and learn a few simple and easy techniques that will maximize your chances of mitigating violence in your classrooms.

Become a strong and resilient firebreak able to recognize oncoming violence and to be able to keep the flames from jumping from one tree to another.

Until my next post, stay safe.

The Hammer

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